The question over the past several years since the announcement of the Lakeside Village development has been: “What’s going to happen to the ‘Old House?”
This week, the answer is that the house will be transported to Grapevine– around the beginning of February– to ensure that excavation of the 40-acre, $1 billion Lakeside Village project can begin as soon as possible.
The property’s iconic 1905 farmhouse that currently overlooks the north shore of Lake Grapevine, was built in 1905 by RJ Robertson and his wife, Manie. The couple had relocated from Fort Worth in 1890.
Most recently, the property has been the family home of local developer Scott Tarwater– the Roberson’s great-grandson– who sold the property to Peter P. Stewart in 1987.
Lakeside Village will feature a variety of public spaces, restaurants, parks, trails, hotels, event venues, homes, and offices with lake views. It is being developed through a partnership of the Peter P. Stewart Family of Dallas and Realty Capital Management of Irving as the final phase of the Lakeside DFW community.
The farmhouse will be moved and restored– thanks in large part to Grapevine Mayor Bill Tate– whose decades-long efforts to preserve historic Grapevine have helped to make that city a tourist destination. The home and property have special meaning for the Grapevine mayor.
“I visited Scott’s home a lot when we were growing up,” explained Tate, whose parents ran Tate’s Hardware on Main Street in Grapevine; next door was Lipscomb Dry Goods, which was run by Tarwater’s aunt, Ruby Lipscomb.
Tarwater and Tate shared many good times there as boys, enjoying the nature and views over the Lake Grapevine reservoir that was constructed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers between 1948 and 1952.
Tarwater remembered that it was Tate who released the first bass into Grapevine Lake in 1952.
That relationship brought Tate back to the farmhouse on Thursday to break bread with Tarwater, Peter B. Stewart and David Stewart.
“We are really thankful that we can bring the farmhouse to Grapevine and that everyone is interested in preserving it,” Tate said. “I know it means a lot to Scott. It’s good when developers appreciate the old, as well as the new.”
“This is one of the most beautiful properties in all the Metroplex,” Tate said. “It has really spectacular views. The property is in good hands.”
“I am proud to be a part of the history of the upcoming project and very excited for this next chapter in which the vision of Peter P. Stewart will come to fruition,” added Tarwater.
“We are humbled by this opportunity,” said Peter B. Stewart, who is planning a 2020 groundbreaking for Lakeside Village.
Plans call for the house to be moved next to the historic Thomas McPherson Farmhouse near the corner of South Dooley Street and East College Street.
The McPherson home, built in 1885 (the sixth oldest in Grapevine), was moved to the College St. location in April 2017.
“The two homes have similar designs,” commented Tate. “They will look very good next to one another.”
RJ Roberson and his wife Manie had five children (Betty, Ruby, Opal, Genevine, and Bill) and several made their homes on the 14-acre property that was left, after 400-acres were purchased for use by Grapevine Lake.
Betty and Scott Tarwater built a house just north of the farmhouse; and, Genevine and her husband built a house to the south, which still stands.
The old farmhouse was passed down to the Roberson’s daughter, Ruby Lipscomb and her husband Huber, then to grandson William Jerry Tarwater and his wife Lura Lee Tarwater–the parents of Scott and his two sisters, Pam T. Parks and Kathy T. Mercer.
Tarwater, as an executive with John Q. Hammonds Hotels & Resorts, developed the Embassy Suites Hotel in Grapevine in 2001.
Today, he is developing Lakeside Crossing near the southwest corner of FM 2499 and Lakeside Parkway.
The project, currently under construction, will include a Hotel Indigo, retail, offices, and townhomes. It is located on property long owned by the Joe Roach family, old neighbors of the Lipscombs and Tarwaters.